STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Sterling Heights could soon be the newest home to medical marijuana dispensaries as the mayor considers opening the door to cut down on illegal grow operations.
Right now, there are no marijuana dispensaries operating in Sterling Heights city limits, but they could possibly pop up along 16 Mile Road and Van Dyke. City officials are entertaining the idea, but residents want to make sure there are clear guidelines.
The floodgates for medical marijuana in Michigan have been open for some time, and now Sterling Heights officials believe it's time to get in on the dispensaries business.
"It's fine with me," resident Betsy Stephenson said. "I think it will reduce the illegal activities."
Mayor Michael Taylor said Sterling Heights has become a hotbed for illegal grow operations.
"Anywhere we have houses is where the grow operations are," Taylor said.
Taylor said city leaders receive many complaints about illegal grow operations from residents.
"We've got hundreds, if not over 1,000, grow operations in our neighborhoods," Taylor said.
He believes giving the green light for these marijuana dispensaries will curb the illegal growers.
"If we opt in, there's certainly going to be a limit," Taylor said. "We're not going to have just a free-for-all. There's going to be very strict guidelines."
Some residents fear that once Sterling Heights embraces the medical marijuana dispensaries, they will see a saturated market, such as the one along 8 Mile Road in Detroit.
"It's not a matter of doing it so we can generate revenue," Taylor said. "It's doing it so we can have a place for our residents. There are thousands of Sterling Heights residents with a medical marijuana card, and they should be able to get that medicine in the easiest and safest way possible."
You can watch Jermont Terry's full story in the video posted above.